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Be a sustainable and eco-friendly fashion person by adding life to older clothing in your already stylish wardrobe

Be a sustainable and eco-friendly fashion person by adding life to older clothing in your already stylish wardrobe

Second chance

Text: Gordon Ng

Editor: Jolene Khor


As sustainability becomes a focus of the fashion industry, it's perhaps time to think about all the old pieces sitting at the back of our closets, wardrobes, and perhaps storage units. While fashion trends are cyclical, we've reached a point where it's A-okay to be freely inspired by any decade. Think about every decade from the 60s through to the present being referenced on current season runways. What's left is a few styling tricks that can make the old feel fresh and new. Good news for the investment pieces you might have bought a decade ago that are waiting for you to give them another go.

Clashing prints

Clashing prints is nothing new, but it gets noticeably harder when you're mixing pieces from different years. Print trends come and go, so you'll want to look for a thread of commonality and combine that with distinct contrast. That means something like floral prints of decidedly different colours and scales. Or stripes and checks that are grounded at least by the same base colour — often white.

Mixing accessories

As far as accessories go, the rule of thumb is to have fun with it. Earrings come in pairs, but they can look more chic worn on just one ear, or funky when you mismatch and wear two different ones. You could also repurpose old scarves or neckties — silk recommended — as belts, a la Fred Astaire. The big idea is to be inventive with accessories and use them in quirky ways that they might not have been originally produced for.

Choosing (only) one colour

It can sometimes be easiest to sort your wardrobe by colour and work from there. An outfit that's top-to-toe monochromatic packs a lot of visual punch, and you can break it up slightly by wearing various shades of the same colour. Think a red outfit with shades of pastel pink and vermillion, a green outfit of chartreuse and jade tones.

Breaking up a suit

Tailoring is having a strong moment in fashion, so it's a great time to bust out old suits and break them apart. As in, break up the set and wear the jacket with other shirts and trousers to create a personalised deconstructed suit. You could also demolish the stuffiness of a suit by wearing it with casual layers such as a polo and a louche knit, or by taking special care to wear shoes that are resolutely informal.

Belting it

"But do you think it's too much like..." "The Lacroix from July? I thought that, but no, not with the right accessories." To which Miranda Priestly famously intoned, "Where are the belts for this?" It's classic, biting, funny, but also actually really true. The right belt can elevate and change many an outfit, and the idea is to keep pieces from the past contemporary with a bit of clever styling. The belt bit is just a bon mots, but rope them in and consider ways you can alter the silhouette of pieces in your wardrobe to give them a second wind.

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